2.20.2005

Ideology revealed

The Left has no scruples at all any more. Otherwise, how can we explain this?

A kindly doctor has diagnosed this disease:
This is the Left's new version of Descartes' "I think, therefore I am". In their view, "I feel it, therefore it is", seems to sum up their entire philosophy of life, as well as the nuances of their "thinking". Evidence or facts are entirely unnecessary.

Sadly, I've run up against this type of thinking. In my beloved "Pissing off Hippies" discussion last week, I picked a fight with the Pope. He'd come out against geneticall modified foods, saying modifying plants' genes is "playing God". I responded that that was bollocks - by that line of reasoning, so is creating any kind of medicine to keep us healthy. The first response was, "Well, you can't say any opinion is bad!" You see, it doesn't matter if things make sense - it's an opinion! You can't argue with an opinion! ...Except that he argued with my opinion...
Sources of bias

The MSM seems pretty hopelessly biased toward the left, but where does it come from? The blogosphere seems to think that it's a product of the power the MSM has had for so long.

I'd argue it goes further. Student newspapers are often training grounds for future MSM journalists, and it's pretty easy to be blatantly biased in the realm of student journalism. The Daiy Cardinal is a great example. During the 1960s, the paper was a radically leftist rag. It has changed since then, but only by degrees. It still proudly wears the mantle of being the "liberal paper" on campus. So we have a situation in which proudly liberal reporters work with proudly liberal editors to put out a proudly liberal paper.

But that isn't my problem. (After all, I'd be a hypocrite if I ragged on the Cardinal while editing for the Mendota Beacon.) I know where the Cardinal stands. I can read it, and know what to look for. Then I can look to other sources if I think something is going on. My problem is the fact that the MSM claims to be impervious to bias. This refusal to acknowledge the truth makes for a dangerous facade, made impervious by time and power. That bloggers can now chip away (or, more properly, take a wrecking ball to) that facade terrifies the MSM.
I hate to carp... wait, no I don't

Now it's ABC up to no good: paying interviewees for a Michael Jackson piece, even though this behavior is "generally frowned upon in the United States, and ABC is among the news organizations that has a policy against it".

Then we have CBS being less than honest about (gasp) another story involving Dan Rather. This time, the debate is over footage of Dan helping to carry a wounded soldier off the battlefield in Vietnam.

Update: (post modified because I'm an idiot. ABC and CBS are two different companies. Maybe I shouldn't post so much when I have two big papers due tomorrow.)

2.19.2005

Consequences, pt II

Last time it was economics, this time it's affirmative action, in the continuing capers of Ward Churchill. Unfortunately, the University of Colorado couldn't really even get that part right - it is dubious at best that Churchill is Native American. Well, except insofar as I am also a native American. Ahh, the differences of a capital letter.

Ethnic diversity is great, but it isn't an altar to worship. True diversity goes so much beyond ethnicity, and being willing to sacrifice principles - in this case, the required Ph.D. was lacking, and two of the three departments involved turned him down - is always dangerous.

Update: via Powerline, Six Degrees of Ward Churchill. Disgustingly, he isn't nearly so far out of the mainstream as we might like to think.
The real problem

CNN doesn't seem to be learning much. Jeff Greenfield, who works for the company, gave a talk at UCLA recently, in which he claimed that blogs are responsible for journalistic bias. Of course Dan Rather was pushed by the bloggers to put those fake documents. And the howling mob of the blogosphere led Eason Jordan to say what he did.

I could say that this is going to lead to the downfall of the mainstream meadia. I could say that this will be the final proof needed that MSM journalists are out of touch. But it's been said before. And this won't be the MSM's downfall. The MSM will keep going, because they are needed. They just won't be able to lie anymore. And that's got to drive them nuts.

2.18.2005

Cognitive dissonance

It's nice when a paper reveals its bias. This article in the Cardinal is very revealing. Let's take a look:
Streiffer also emphasized the significance of stem-cell research, but focused his discussion on the sociological and ethical issues associated with the field. He touched on topics concerning the monetary cost of the research and also addressed various controversial aspects regarding the ethics of abortion and "human dignity."(emphasis added)

I'm in favor of stem cell research - I think it has a lot of promise. But why the scare quotes around "human dignity"? There is a real question of ethics involved in this debate, and the Cardinal does itself a disservice by not taking one side of the debate seriously. But there's more fun:
Nevertheless, "toward the end there were a few individuals that seemed like they made it their business to argue with the professors about moral issues," Grasse said. "One gentleman asked Professor Zhang what I thought were some inappropriate questions concerning how he reconciled the morality of his work, and there were individuals that seemed to be arguing with Professor Streiffer about the moral issues in his work as well."

If this was a conservative speaker, and some lefties had dared speak out against him, the Cardinal would have loved it. And that's fine, as long as they report it honestly. But here again, they don't tell us what questions were asked. The Cardinal only bothers to insult the students who were uppity enough to take on a professor. Those students should really learn their place!

2.16.2005

MSM snobbery

The good folks over at the Mendota Beacon,myself included, were surprised to learn that we were, in fact, not real journalists. Not because we were conservative, but because we hadn't identified ourselves as such in the byline. So the difference between being a reporter and not being a reporter is a byline? Maybe bloggers should be putting in their titles, "I am a journalist!"

Update: Welcome Vodkapundit readers!
Consequences

Eric Cullen reminds students about the consequences of their "progressive" policies in one of the Badger Herald's rare good Op/Ed pieces. I was also disappointed at the loss of a number of good restaurants, although most of my personal favorites are still around. But I'm worried for Pel'meni - can delicious Russian dumplings withstand the onslaught of a raised minimum wage?
Suitable music

I almost always need music going in the background when I do work. But the kind of music that is playing is important!

I've been listening to a lot of Grateful Dead (well, to the extent that I have 5 Dead songs in my playlist right now) while blogging, which leads into John Coltrane. This works very well for some of the bigger blogs - Instapundit and Althouse especially, and sometimes Chrenkoff. Radiohead, Air, and Massive Attack are good for rounding out my blog reading.

But these bands are aweful for my webcomic reading! I actually usually read my webcomic list during class - specifically, History 253 (Russian Interdisciplinary Study). Since Tischler reads her entire lecture anyway, I like to turn my brain off as much as possible.

But what to listen to when reading for classes? Manic Street Preacers work well for some books, it tends to depend on the book. I wish I still had my Kino playlist to listen to while reading the piles of books on Soviet history, but alas, it's on my computer at home.

2.15.2005

Fishy

According to the Badger Herald, Ryan Corcoran has dropped out of the aldermanic race. The odd thing is, he did this so late that his name will remain on the ballot - meaning that if he beats Kami Eshragi for the Democrat nomination, Austin King will have effectively won the race. This is troubling because Eshragi has alleged that Austin and Ryan have been colluding:
“[Ryan and Austin] lived in the same dorm , they worked together, they have mutual friends. Just recently, I got calls from a whole bunch of bartenders telling me they were having a pitcher of beer together at The Plaza . . . I would be very disappointed if the only reason [Ryan] is in the race is to force a primary and to help his friend Austin."

Both Ryan and his campaign manager have also thrown their support to Austin.

Is it a conspiracy? I want to think it isn't - I don't love conspiracies, and the only evidence of them getting together is from the opponent. And if they did get together, it could well have been innocent - they have mutual friends, after all. But the timing is certainly strange.

Update: Corcoran lost so convincingly, it doesn't even matter if there was a conspiracy. I'd doubt it anyway - as my roommate pointed out, they're both kind of the stoner type anyway, so they're likely to know each other socially. But King still did cheat - his chalking outside of the Union is too close to what was a polling place!
I love it that they hate me

Among a couple of decent classes I have this semester, I have a couple of really bad ones. One of them, a Russian Interdisciplinary Study, is simply insulting to my intellingence. On the first day of class, our teacher (she isn't a full professor yet) showed us a video made for grade-schoolers, saying that we'd "have to do [our] own synthesis" or something dumb. But this isn't about that.

This is about Geography 339: Environmental Conservatism. No, this doesn't mean "what conservatives think about the environment". It means "how to piss of the hippies in your discussion period". Yesterday was my first big chance. We'd read Fear in the Fields, and a few other pieces on the evilness of genetically modified foods. I loated it. So when we got into small groups to discuss I brought up the fact that nobody has gotten sick from GM foods, they help poor people because they're cheap and easy to grow, et cetera, et cetera. The bolsheviks I was talking to put up a few "but they're made by evil corporations! Corporations!" arguments, but eventually gave up and went to that favorite liberal response: frown knowingly at your companions, but don't actually say anything.

Then we got to discuss the Fear in the Fields piece. I brought up the facts that the article never showed that anyone got sick; that it showed that the food grown using the relevant fertilizers were totally within safe ranges, according to the EPA, and that the article was just a lot of scary-sounding insinuation and general scare tactics. "But there should be regulation!" said the hippies. I didn't respond.

I'm looking forward to the day I get to argue global warming with them.

2.13.2005

Once more, with feeling

My computer works again! And so I shall post more often.

The Mendota Beacon is up and running, and things are looking up. We will (probably) be moving to a more-page format in the next issue, even. But after reading this, I realize I need to take a much more rum-soaked approach to the news!